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China 'sincere' about ties with Vatican
Updated: 2005-05-18 08:38

China said Tuesday it is sincere in its efforts to establish formal relations with the Vatican after a 50-year break, but Beijing insisted the Holy See consider Taiwan an integral part of China.

Both China and the Vatican have expressed interest in recent weeks in forming diplomatic relations. China cut ties with the pope in 1951 and refuses to have any contact with Vatican that maintain official relations with Taiwan.

The Vatican is the only European government that has official relations with Taiwan.

"We are sincere about establishing ties with the Vatican," Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said. He also expressed hope that under Pope Benedict XVI, "the Vatican will create favorable conditions to normalize relations."

"The Vatican must follow the decision of the international community to treat Taiwan as an inseparable part of China," Kong said at a regular news briefing.

A former top Vatican diplomat, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, told reporters in Rome that "if they give us the possibility, we're ready tomorrow" to normalize relations with Beijing.

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